I think if you would have asked me last year, if I would find myself in the same exact place, one year later, but this time, serving as a full-time missionary, hands open to whatever and wherever He leads? I probably would have laughed. It would have been my nervous/awkward type of laughter, the kind I use only when someone actually exposes one of my deepest desires or wishes, that I wish to not be revealed. Because laughter is a great way to cover up just how terrified you actually are, right? But times like this I am reminded.
Sometimes I am tempted to think God is out to get me, doesn't actually have the best plan, and cannot hear my pleads or is choosing to ignore them. But all it takes is one quick glance in the rearview mirror, to see what He has done and be reminded that He is always faithful. always and only faithful.
Last night, I felt the weight of the day on my shoulders. I was weary but not tired. I just felt depleted, hollow, and exhausted from fighting the lies of the Enemy all.stinkin. day. I crawled into bed far too early but was determined to watch Netflix until my brain was numb enough to rest without struggle (#healthy).
I had been searching for something to watch (for about 20 minutes) that was the perfect mix of sad and happy when the gritty blink of my eyes reminded me that my contacts were still in my eyes. Trying to be a responsible adult, I climbed out of my warm bed and stepped my tender bare feet on the icy tile floor, while simultaneously shaming myself for not being more responsible and taking these stinkers out earlier in the evening.
As I turned to climb back into my warm bed, I saw the stars out of my large bedroom window. They could not be ignored. I froze. I placed my hands on the window and the tears started flowing. Suddenly, I found myself sobbing and simply saying, "Father, I know you are here..." again and again. and then.
The biggest, longest, most brilliant shooting star shot across the sky.
In the blink of an eye, I crumbled. All of my hearts sadness, all of my uncertainty, all of my doubts, and all of my questioning was answered and wrapped up in that shooting star. God was surely with me. He was near to me. He heard me.
He did not instantaneously remove or miraculously end what hurts ... and I think I often times mistake God's presence as the removal of whatever hurts or aches. But I saw and realized that in the middle of my own desperation, He may not take it away but He is most certainly listening. He is most certainly with me. and I am most definitely not forgotten by Him. I stood there almost numb looking at the stars for a long while. I prayed, I emptied my heart out. I was angry, then sad. I was happy, then hurt. I was thankful and overwhelmed.
As a crawled back into my bed, I thought about the many moments the stars of Bolivia have been etched in my heart and how God has used stars to show me more of His heart. Two years ago, I saw the stars here and knew I would be back again. I had never seen stars so clear and so brilliant in my life and as certain that God was most assuredly in this place. Last year, I would lay out on the sports court and watch the stars with my friends and we would sing worship songs, talk about big dreams, and recount stories of the Lord's faithfulness. It was one of those nights that I, as silly as it sounds, prayed and asked to see a shooting star. I had never seen one before and I was just really excited about the chance that maybe, just maybe I would see one. That night, I will never forget. I lost count of how many shooting stars I saw after counting 6. Who is my God? So kind, so whimsical, so generous. At the end of last summer, I went to the Uyuni Salt Flats and have never in my life been so blown away by the creativity of our Creator. One night, in particular, I remember laying on top of the car with my friend singing "Nothing is Impossible" and marveling at the majesty and grandness of our God. Another night on that trip, I was standing on the rooftop view area of our hotel and as far as I could see it was pitch dark. But the stars illuminated the sky with such brilliance, I was overwhelmed (and also freezing cold). Then earlier this month, I sat on the same court here at the Life Center, this time alone, and through steaming hot tears angrily questioned and wrestled with God (as it turns out, He can handle it) and begged for clarity and comfort.
And last night just gets added to the stories of the stars in Bolivia.
So in the middle of sadness, struggles of sinful tendencies, and trials, God continues to use the smallest things to show me more of Himself. I am humbled. I realized what a gift this life is and I pray against the lies... whatever they are. My God is creative, kind, and greater and when I start to question, all I have to do is look at the stars.